If The Hitman’s Bodyguard had come out 20 years ago, it might have seemed too generic in an age that was really pushing boundaries for action movies like Face/Off and Speed. Today it’s a refreshing return to old school movies where the strength of the actors’ chemistry and some thrilling stunts were enough to make a movie worthwhile.

Michael Bryce (Ryan Reynolds) used to be a AAA rated security guard until his biggest client got assassinated. Now he’s assigned to protect notorious hitman Darius Kincaid (Samuel L. Jackson) to give witness testimony against Vladislav Dukhovich (Gary Oldman).

There’s a lotta casual MF from Sam. When was his last freewheeling R-rated movie? The Hateful Eight was pre-MF historically. Reynolds and Salma Hayek get in on the MF too.

The action is over the top in a way we take for granted. They crash cars, fight and shoot at people but the hook is that Bryce and Kincaid are so utterly casual because it’s their job. Even more so than Arnold was. He played up that he could handle anything. These guys act like its entry level stuff.

It’s a ridiculous world of bravado but they treat the characters with respect. Bryce’s regrets for losing a client’s life and his girlfriend’s love is sincere. Kincaid loves his wife (Hayek), who took the fall for him. Even Oldman seems to be really playing the savage brutality of an Eastern European tyrant.

The Hitman’s Bodyguard follows the formula to a tee where Bryce and Kincaid hate each other, then learn to get along, then really hate each other but ultimately come to respect each other. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. As long as you can give us a fun ride where they bicker through unique misadventures on the road, keep telling the odd couple story for as long as you want.

The film is a Blu-ray travelogue with bright vibrant London streets, overhead shots including The Eye. Belarus is bright green. The Hague at night peppers the dark sky with city lights. Amsterdam, all around Eastern Europe basically, but mainly Bulgaria where Millennium loves to shoot, all look glorious. Explosions light up the screen, even the blatant CGI ones.

Patrick Hughes gives a great commentary mixing technical information with anecdotes about the actors. It seems he’s a good blend of actor’s director and action director.

Don’t get too excited about deleted, extended and alternate scenes. The funniest stuff is in the movie. Oddly, there is a shot that lingers on a graphic throat slash. That seems rightfully cut for pacing, let alone taste.

Behind the scenes features are pretty standard sound bite packages but everyone sounds sincere. They weren’t doing a deep embedded making of, but when they sat with the camera they were engaged and proud of their work.

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